Chapter 8: The Girl with a Decision to Make

Seth shoved the door open, already glaring at his pack mates. "Hey, Seth," Jacob greeted happily. "We're here to see-"

Seth held his hand up in Jacob's face, a gesture he wouldn't normally make toward his Alpha. "I'll get to you two in a minute," he seethed, his eyes going directly to Embry. "Come here," he demanded. "We need to have a little chat."

Embry watched Seth, unsure what had his friend so upset. Then, without notice, Seth hauled back and punched Embry on the side of his arm with all his strength. "Ow!" Embry yelped bending over and grabbing his shoulder in pain. "What gives, Seth?"

Seth bent down to look him in the face. "Be happy it wasn't your face, or better yet, your balls."

Embry glanced up and Seth was still gritting his teeth. "You know," he stated hoarsely.

"Of course I know! I can't believe you slept with her! You imprinted on her and then you slept with her!" Seth yelled. "You idiot!"

Embry straightened back up, still holding his shoulder. "I know, Seth. I screwed up."

"Yeah," Seth barked back. "You did! And I'm not about to let you walk in there and make it worse."

"Wait," Embry stuttered. "She's here?"

"Yes!"

"Really?" Quil chirped behind them, looking around to Jacob. "You found her?"

Jacob rolled his eyes. "Of Course I found her. Did you think I went through this much trouble because I really care that much about your stupid hair?"

"I said, I'd deal with you in a minute," Seth growled at the boys.

"I can't believe she is here," Embry mumbled to himself. "That its been your friend the whole time."

"Yeah," Seth told him, his voice rough. "And as her friend, I can tell you that she is humiliated by what happened. She's afraid you're going to go brag about it to all your friends." Seth paused just long enough to glare at Jacob and Quil. "And that you're just going to have a good laugh at her expense."

"Tell me that you told her that's not true?" Embry begged.

"I didn't get the chance," Seth spat. "Because you rolled up with the hardy boys and she started freaking out."

Embry was thoughtful for a moment. "Should we leave?"

"I think that would be best," Seth confirmed. "Let me talk to her. Maybe, just maybe, I can convince her to give your dumb ass a chance."

"Okay," Embry agreed almost immediately.

"Wait," Quil whined. "You mean we're not going inside?"

Seth whirled on him. "You know, I almost forgot about you. What exactly was your brilliant plan?"

Quil immediately held his hands up. "I'm here under orders," he proclaimed. "I thought we were here to fetch the hair cut girl."

Seth turned to his Alpha and waited.

"I guess I was going to let the imprint work its magic," Jacob tried to explain.

"That's what Romeo did last time and look where it got him," Seth shot back.

"Okay," Jacob agreed sticking his hands in his pockets. "Maybe I didn't exactly think this one through."

"Ya, think?" Seth rolled his eyes. "I feel sorry for your imprints when they get older."

"Why do I keep getting included in this?" Quil mumbled.

"Let's go guys," Embry urged. "Let Seth talk to her."

"You sure?" Jacob asked.

"Yeah," he nodded. "I know you meant well, but I'm not going to force her to talk to me. Seth, just please let her know when or if she's ever ready to talk about it, that I'll be waiting."

"I'll see what I can do," he said flatly, still miffed at his brothers.

Embry nodded and waved for Jacob and Quil to follow him back to the car. Seth waited until they were inside before turning around and going back into the diner.

Seth slid back into the booth as Wren unglued herself from the window. She'd watched, her mouth gaping in awe slightly, as the car full of boys pulled out of the parking lot. Her heart was still racing, Embry's image burned into her mind like a wildfire.

How could he be more gorgeous than she even remembered?

His dark eyes appeared incredibly deep, burdened almost. However, it was exquisitely hidden behind perfectly untidy hair that clung around the corners framing his flawless face. He was so tall and rugged, she thought. His dark jeans were tucked effortlessly into a pair of untied black boots giving him a careless appearance, except the blue flannel shirt he adorned was precisely buttoned and pressed.

Wren made no attempt to suppress the mental sigh. She knew all too well what lay underneath was even more intoxicating, but this wasn't the place or time. "What happened out there?" She asked, caroling her thoughts back to the present events.

"Give me a minute," Seth requested. He gulped down what remained of his coffee, and flagged down the waitress for more. He needed a moment to calm his nerves. He didn't want to say something in anger that he might regret once the fog lifted. So, he took his time and order drinks and even managed to talk Wren into staying for dinner. He was starving after all, and they needed to have a prolonged discussion.

Finally, after the waitress served their dinner, Seth was able to look up at Wren with a clear, revengeless thought process. "So," he began cutting casually into his steak. "Not taking the current situation into account, Embry is actually a good guy."

It was always easiest to start with the truth, he thought.

Wren swallowed her food and looked up at Seth from underneath her lashes. "People keep saying that," she whispered.

"Yeah," Seth half laughed. "Trust me, if it weren't true, I'd be real happy to tell you otherwise right now."

Wren nodded, knowing Seth wouldn't lie. "But how does that apply to me exactly?" She wondered out loud. So what if Embry was a good guy, that didn't change the fact that they'd fooled around only minutes after running into each other.

"Honestly?" Seth smiled. "Jack shit. I'm just saying, that you don't have to worry about him spreading it all over town, or bragging about it to his friends."

Wren raised a skeptical brow. "So, you're telling me that Jacob and that other boy don't know about it?"

Seth opened his mouth to speak, but quickly shut it back. Damn it, she had a point.

"That's what I thought," Wren shot back.

"He wasn't bragging though," Seth answered quickly. "That's not Embry's style. He's not a kiss and tell kind of guy, never has been. He's been feeling like crap about what happened and how he left things between the two of you. I can attest to that, actually. Yesterday, when he was at my house, he was pretty guilt ridden. I didn't ask questions, but Jake and Quil are his best friends. They would never let something like that slide without forcing it out of him."

"He feels guilty?" Wren asked quietly.

"Yeah," Seth nodded. "He wants to apologize, and talk to you about what happened, but I told him I didn't think you were up to that yet, or that you ever would be. That's totally your decision."

"He...wants to...talk to me," Wren repeated as if trying to make it sound believable. "Apologize?"

Seth gave her a minute to sort it all out. "This isn't how this is supposed to work," she muttered. "Boys don't apologize. Boys don't feel guilty." Never, not once, in her entire high school experience had she'd ever known a guy to feel guilty about hooking up with a girl. Their brains weren't meant to function that way. Their dicks usually didn't let guilt reach that far.

Seth chuckled. "I don't know if you've noticed, but we aren't normal."

He flashed Wren a swoon worthy smile and she laughed. "Trust me. I've noticed."

"And this isn't something you have to decide right now," Seth explained. "Embry can wait."

In fact, Seth thought with a mischievous edge, it might actually do him some good.

"I'll think about it," Wren promised munching on her fries, and she knew she would. She couldn't stop thinking about it.

They continued to eat in silence as Wren thought everything through. The LaPush guys were definitely different, and it wasn't just their devastatingly good looks. It seemed as if they were all perfect molds of what girls dreamed that a guy should be. Seth, Colin and all the others that she'd had a conversation with had shown to be sincerely kind and decent guys.

"Why is that?" she blurted out after a few minutes.

Seth looked up from his steak, confused.

"Why are all of you so different from every other boy I've ever met?" She questioned.

Seth chewed it over for a moment knowing he couldn't tell her the out right truth. It wasn't his place to explain imprinting, so instead he'd go with a more rational excuse.

"A lot of reasons. We all took on a lot of responsibility at a young age, and it matured us in a sense. Plus, we have very strong willed women in our lives like my mom, sister and our friend's wives who would essentially rip our balls off if they caught us treating a woman with anything but the utmost respect."

Wren studied him, and she could find no sign of false intent in Seth's eyes. "You told me that you don't date," she reminded. "Why? I find it difficult to believe that you're not boyfriend material."

Seth grinned. "Thanks, but its complicated."

Wren wasn't about to give up that easily. She'd confessed her biggest secret and now she wanted payback. Seth knew it too. He scratched his head, fumbling for a reasonable answer that didn't involve werewolves and magic soul mates.

"I'm not ready for a commitment yet," he began almost stuttering out the words. "I've witnessed my sister get her heart broken, and what that did to her. I don't want to chance that with anyone, or cause anyone else that kind of pain until I know I've met the right girl."

Wren stared at him, her gaze intense. "Are you- human?"

"What?" Seth choked, coughing up the drink he'd just taken.

"Are you sure you haven't been abducted by lonely old women aliens and brain washed before sent back to earth?"

"Why would you say that?" Seth said still choking a little.

"Seth," Wren stated laughing. "I told you. Guys don't talk like that."

Seth managed to finally clear his throat, and laughed. "I told you I was weird."

Wren shook her head in amazement. "You were definitely right about that."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

It was early the next morning, and Embry was already at the store. It had been a long, uneventful night, but what did he expect? Had he actually thought that Seth could work magic, that one simple conversation would have her running in to talk to him? That was a dream. A dream that he didn't deserve even to wish that it might come through.

The bell over the door rang, and he didn't bother to look up. He'd only be disappointed. He doubted she would ever come in this store ever again, especially if he was here.

"Embry."

His head shot up, because he recognized that voice. It was short, and stern. He suddenly saw his life flash before his eyes.

"Mrs. Cordell," he managed to stutter out, straightening up with a jerk.

"Good morning," she greeted with a tight smile.

Embry's stomach sank. He knew that look. Mae Cordell was a strict, no nonsense woman, one of the many reasons why she'd served on the council for so many years. Embry could still remember facing the council for the first time after he phased, the fear of what was happening to him lingering in his veins. Most of all though, he remembered Mae Cordell's face, and the unmoving look she'd given him as she'd explained the importance of his new position amongst the tribe. She was giving him that same look now, and he could feel the fear from that day return.

"Can I help you?" He asked with a slight squeak to his voice.

Mae tucked her purse under her arm. "Sue came to see me last night," she began. "Leah had informed her of some very important information."

Embry didn't speak, in fact, he didn't even move.

Mae glanced around the store and then back to him. " You, Mr. Call, imprinted on my grand daughter."

It wasn't a question, Mae wasn't here for confirmation, but Embry did so anyway, because he didn't know what else to say.

"Yes, Mam. I did."

"What exactly are your intentions?" She inquired with a daring look.

"Intentions?" Embry half croaked. He had no idea how this tiny little woman could be so damn intimidating.

"Yes," Mae assured him. "It happened over a week ago, and yet I see young Seth at my house every afternoon, instead of you. Why is that, Embry?"

He could have died, right there on the grocery room floor. He'd never lied to a council member before, and even though Mae was retired, he'd never dare take the risk. However, this was life or death circumstances as far as he was concerned. There was no way in hell he was admitting the truth to his imprint's grandmother, especially when said grandmother was Mae Cordell.

"Our first meeting was a little awkward," he stated with a gulp, hoping she couldn't see the guilt that he was trying so hard to hide. "The imprint took me a little by surprise, I guess. I've just been trying to give us both time to adjust."

He was a horrible liar, and the click of Mae's tongue told him that she knew it. "Fine," she said with a short huff. "You don't have to tell me, but I do expect you to adhere to what I say next."

Embry tried to swallow but his throat was bone dry, so he kept his mouth shut and waited. "You treat her with respect. Imprinting does not give you the right to rush through the normal, gradual steps that a developing relationship is meant to take. You understand?"

Embry nodded, looking down at the table.

"Look at me and say it," she instructed. "Because its me who'll you have to explain yourself to if you mess up."

Embry raised his eyes to meet hers, and the cool sting of fear slid down his spine. "Yes, I understand."

"Good." She relaxed a little then, though not by much. She still had something on her mind, but she didn't know exactly how to say it just yet.

Embry waited impatiently, brushing his hair out of his eyes. Then, after a long moment that seemed to drag on forever, Mae sighed. "I know life hasn't been easy for you Embry. Its no secret what you've went through, and the sacrifices you've made to uphold your commitment to this tribe. Knowing all those things, it did not surprise me in the least to find out that you were the one to imprint on Wren."

Embry's mouth fell open slightly, and for the thousandth time in what felt like hours, he was speechless.

"Wren hasn't had the best home life either, but its made her stronger, more independent. You will soon come to find out that you and my grandmother are very much alike. You will compliment each other, support each other, and most importantly be what the other one needs, exactly when you need it."

"I hope-" he began, but the words seemed so hard to say. "I hope you are right."

And for the first time Mae smiled. "I usually am."

Embry laughed, finally releasing the breath he'd been holding. "Alright then," Mae stated pulling her purse back into her hands. "Now that we have that settled, I have errands to run."

She spun on her heels and headed toward the door. She opened it slightly, looking back at Embry. "I expect I'll be seeing you again soon."

Embry nodded, smiling. "Hopefully," he muttered under his breath as he watched the door close behind her.